Yeah Mike, I remember when I first got in the trade and the painter that I was working under was a relatively decent guy but played more practical jokes than he painted cars. He had just stirred a quart of black paint and poured off what he needed and called me in the paint room. As soon as I walked in he screamed at me and told me not set foot in his mixing room without safety glasses and that the fumes could make me go blind if I didn't wear them. I was new and naive and ran to put on my safety glasses and walked back into the mixing room. He handed me the lid to the black paint and the biggest ball peen hammer I had ever seen. Then he told me that one of the first things I needed to learn was how to properly put the lid on a paint can so the paint wouldn't go bad. Then he handed me the hammer, took the lid back and gently placed it on the open can of black paint. Then he leaned over the can as though he was examining the can real carefully. He pointed to a spot on the lid and told me to get real close and give that lid a fairly good wack with the hammer. I did as he said, he backed away and I couldn't figure out at the time why the whole shop was watching but, I gave that can a real good wack with my face about 10 inches away from the can.
My face was Black, my hair was black, I was covered in black...the rest of the shop had a good laugh, I was a bit pissed, but then the painter came over, gave me one of his special rags for wiping cars down before he painted them and told me that the rag had paint remover on it and I should wipe the paint off my face...which I proceeded to do. It wasn't paint remover, thank God, but it was gun wash...I spread that black paint all over my face, my neck, my hands where covered in black. Then one of the body men brought out a tape recorder and asked if I'd like to sing along to one of his favorite songs...He pushed play and it was Al Jolson, singing Mammy, how I love ya, how I love ya, my dear old Mammy.
I was initiated....Apparently I wasn't the first guy that was told to sing along with Al Jolson.